Last year on December 22 the California Highway Patrol stopped a truck because of a few running lights that weren’t working. The truck was transporting over 1,000 pounds of legal cannabis which belonged to a licensed cannabis supplier, Old Kai.
An Old Kai employee and another passenger who was in the truck are now facing charges of being in the possession of and transporting cannabis. Old Kai founders aren’t impressed with this situation. Their business has been slowed down even more by the fact that even their truck got impounded by the CHP.
Law abiding citizens
Matthew Mandelker and Lucas Seymour who are the founding owners of Old Kai have registered their legal cannabis supply business. They say that under a new local law which became effective as from the first of January they are allowed to transport, possess and sell cannabis and cannabis products.
Unfortunately, when they showed a police officer their credentials he didn’t believe them and even laughed at them insinuating that their papers were fake. Old Kai’s lawyer had to intervene showing that they also had applied for and received accreditation as medical cannabis suppliers as from 2015. The police after being showed this evidence still wouldn’t let go of their products.
Not legal enough?
According to local law, no one has the right to be transporting cannabis with the intention of selling it before 1 January 2018 when it became open for adults to consume in California. A police officer told the media that Old Kai had licensed its business before the day cannabis was legalized for retail sales and thus had no right to be transporting it whatsoever.
Their lawyer then proceeded to ask that if this is so, Old Kai also had a medical cannabis permit. How were they supposed to deliver the cannabis to patients who needed it? Authorities didn’t respond to this question.
Local legal cannabis farmers want answers
California farmers are really concerned now about the future of their industry as a whole and on what to do next. Not very long ago they decided that they should confront authorities about this and had a meeting with the Mendicino County Board.
They didn’t only voice their concerns and anger over the Old Kai issue but they also expressed that they wanted something to be done. The farmers who said they weren’t asking for much. Just that those rules, laws, and regulations that they applied for, be in action and protect them against such events.
Bringing back sour memories
One of Old Kai’s co-founders said that this truly did leave him utterly out of words. He said that especially in this day when the cannabis industry has been seeing tremendously good strides in finally being an official business. They still have to deal with law enforcement officials who still insist on persecuting them even when they’ve registered and completed all the formalities.
Another person also added that many cannabis farmers and suppliers in California are starting to fear that what happened to Old Kai will also end up happening to them.
But where is Old Kai’s stock?
No one in the California Highway Patrol or any other police representative has shown up and said anything about the whereabouts of this seized produce. Old Kai members and their representatives, including many different media outlets, have all tried to get that information but they all get the same result for their efforts.
No comment or complete silence. Police officers who were present during the holdup also don’t want to reach out to Old Kai or the media and speak about the case let alone disclosing where they have held Old Kai’s products. No one in the law enforcement side has even commented on what happened to the seized cannabis.
What is happening with the case?
The District Attorney said they haven’t received any case files from the Highway Patrol to see if they’re still going ahead with the charges or not. The District Attorney, through his spokesperson Mike Geniella, said he had no prior knowledge of any these allegations until they were brought to his attention by the media.
Mike Geniella also said that neither he or the DA had any kind of information on the cannabis’s location or fate.
The hardest hit
Many of the Mendicino cannabis farmers were affected by this confiscation of property by the Highway Patrol. However, even though a great number of farms had their produce taken away, most of this cannabis belonged to one specific farmer. This farmer who was one the first to legally start and run a cannabis operation in California.
He said that this ordeal has hurt him a lot both financially and emotionally. He went on to say that he was disappointed in the way things are being handled in the Old Kai case even more so because his business spends a lot of tax on a system that isn’t protecting it.
The board’s take
Most cannabis growers aren’t satisfied with the way how the police in California are treating people in their industry. And that’s why the county’s board said that they aim at improving relations between the two parties. But still, California farmers feel that not much is being done with the enforcement of their rights.
A member of the county board said they will look for ways to take action on this Old Kai matter. And that they as the board understand the anger that this case has brought to the cannabis using community. The board member also assured all those in cannabis industry that this case is being taken seriously and they will help them get a solution to their grievances.
What happened to the cannabis?
Authorities have been tried by all means possible to disclose what they did or are doing with the seized cannabis. As the police have been silent, Old Kai members think that it has been destroyed. They say that it will mean a great loss to them, the farmers and even more so to the industry as a whole.